Ride Level: Moderate
Any bike | GPX Route | Traffic-free | Cycle paths & trails | Some hills | 17 miles | 4 to 5 hours
Ah Happy Valley, it always brings a smile to your face. This ride connects a wide-open chalk valley, home to rare butterflies, festooned with cowslips and Iron Age Barrows, with Pilgrim’s Way. It visits a church with a 12th-century route map to Purgatory and Hell, before climbing the downs in Yew Valley and passing the Alpaca farms of Halliloo.
Starting at Coulsdon South Railway station. It’s a gradual climb over the grassy downlands past Neolithic remains followed by a climb through the woods to Chaldon, with its ancient church and demonic mural.
Following the ridge of the North Downs on Pilgrims’ Way, pass Tower Folly before riding through the beech and yew woods to a look point, where on a fine day it’s possible to make out the thin grey outline of the South Downs in the far distance.
Few more woods, past old mines and quarries and then the easy bit, a delicious steady 2-mile descent on a traffic-free tarmac gem, you’ll feel like a God riding this section! Prepare to face the last climb aside the Halliloo Valley, past the Alpaca Farm, there's a cafe in the Garden Centre Café in Warlingham.
Continue back towards Purley along the ridge and Riddlesdown Common, a massive open space of chalk downland before our last long descent into Purley Station.
Start point: Coulsdon South Railway Station
End Point: Purley Railway Station
Places to visit
2.5 miles: 12th Century wall mural depicting the route to Purgatory at Chaldon Church
4.6 miles: Tower Farm Folly
6 miles: Gravelley Hill Viewpoint
11.25 miles: Alpaca Farm
Places to Eat
4.5 miles: The Harrow
11.5 miles Knights Garden Centre
- Distance: 27km | 17 miles
- Climb: 430m | 1400 ft
- Trail Surface: Natural, Gravel and Tarmac
- Percentage off-road: Approx 75%
- Duration: Ride time 3½ to 4 hours.
- Technical Grade: Blue – non-technical, suitable for novices and near novices with reasonable levels of fitness and those looking to progress their riding ability
- WARNING - In winter there can be large puddles on Pilgrims Way approx 5 miles from the start.
Is this ride for me?
Moderate ride on maintained trails and quiet country lanes, parts can get quite muddy in winter with a few large puddles in extremely wet weather times along Pilgrims Way
Is my bike OK for this ride?
Bikes suitable for this ride include off-road bikes, for example, Mountain, gravel and CX bikes as well hybrids and road bikes fitted with all-terrain tyres.